ttc hybrid electric bus

The TTC just bought hundreds of fancy new buses that will revolutionize its fleet

The bus is widely seen as the ugly duckling of public transit—less reliable, higher polluting, and just generally unfavourable compared to subways, light rail, and streetcars. But that's all changing in Toronto and other cities as transit agencies adopt cleaner vehicles.

The TTC already operates the largest electric bus fleet on the continent, part of the TTC green initiatives plan that aims to reach 100 per cent zero emissions by 2040.

That's still over a decade and a half away, and with an interim goal of 50 per cent emissions by 2028-2032 and electric vehicles only getting cheaper with time, the TTC is opting to meet that interim goal with the help of hybrid buses. Hundreds of them.

A deal was announced on Monday, the TTC is ordering 270 hybrid-electric buses, with options to produce over 360 more of these eco-friendly vehicles in the coming years. 

The TTC will get 134 forty-foot hybrid-electric heavy-duty transit buses, and 68 sixty-foot hybrid-electric buses in the Xcelsior Hybrid model produced by Manitoba-based manufacturer New Flyer.

The fully-electric version of these Xcelsior buses has already operated in Toronto since 2019, though only 25 were ordered by the TTC compared to the hundreds of the diesel-electric versions announced Monday.

Aside from its reduction of emissions by up to 50 per cent and reduction of particulate matter by up to 100 per cent, these buses are configured with technology known as 'geo-fencing' that utilizes GPS navigation to turn off the diesel engine and run purely on electric power in pre-designated areas. This allows a bus to always be running emission-free in certain areas, like near schools or hospitals.

The order is just the latest deal inked between the TTC and New Flyer, a partnership that dates back over half a century.

"Since 1968, we have delivered nearly 1,000 vehicles, including 25 battery-electric buses," said Chris Stoddart, President, North American Bus and Coach.

Stoddart states the buses' "ability to meet green zone regulations through intermittent zero-emission operation," adding that they will "accelerate TTC's transition to zero-emission and build a more livable GTA."

Lead photo by

NFI Group Inc

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